There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.
This book is full of interesting tidbits, but you do need more than a passing acquaintance with Austen's novels to understand what the author is talking about. Especially when he is referencing what characters say to each other. But for people who are new to reading about the period in history in which Austen's books are set the chapters that address money, mourning, games and social customs are very helpful.
Release date: January 29, 2013
Which important Austen characters never speak? Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call one another, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? In What Matters in Jane Austen?, John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen's brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.
In twenty short chapters, each of which explores a question prompted by Austens novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most in her beloved fiction. Readers will discover when Austen's characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars got good livings; and how wealth was inherited. What Matters in Jane Austen? illuminates the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist. It uses telling passages from Austen's letters and details from her own life to explain episodes in her novels: readers will find out, for example, what novels she read, how much money she had to live on, and what she saw at the theater.
Written with flair and based on a lifetime's study, What Matters in Jane Austen? will allow readers to appreciate Jane Austen's work in greater depth than ever before.
I was actually looking for a biography of George VI on audible but couldn't find on so I got this one as it was the closest I could get. I'm beginning to think audible is prejudiced towards male monarchs.
She wasn't really all that special but she brought humanity to the Royal family at a time when they desperately needed it. She was the right woman at exactly the right place and time.
The official and definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: consort of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Charles - and the most beloved British monarch of the 20th century.
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon - the ninth of the Earl of Strathmore's 10 children - was born on August 4, 1900, and, certainly, no one could have imagined that her long life (she died in 2002) would come to reflect a changing nation over the course of an entire century. Now, William Shawcross - given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother's personal papers, letters, and diaries - gives us a portrait of unprecedented vividness and detail. Here is the girl who helped convalescing soldiers during the First World War...the young Duchess of York helping her reluctant husband assume the throne when his brother abdicated...the Queen refusing to take refuge from the bombing of London, risking her own life to instill courage and hope in others who were living through the Blitz...the dowager Queen - the last Edwardian, the charming survivor of a long-lost era - representing her nation at home and abroad...the matriarch of the Royal Family and "the nation's best-loved grandmother".
A revelatory royal biography that is, as well, a singular history of Britain in the 20th century.
This book is a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Be Careful What you Wish For is the message that comes through loud and clear.
Because I have never been particularly interested in gossipy enquirer type articles I had never looked very closely at either the Duke or the Dutchess of Windsor. But lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately about WW2 and several of the books I have read have mentioned that they were both suspected of having pro Nazi sympathies I decided to search out a biography of the Duke. I didn't find one on audible.com but did find this book. My goodness, what a to-do!
The conclusion that I came up with is that neither the Duke or the Dutchess had pro Nazi sympathies. In fact I got the impression that both of them were so self absorbed that it was impossible for them to connect with or even understand any concept beyond their own personal desires at any given moment. That is not to say the wouldn't has assisted the Nazi cause- but only if they perceived that by doing so they would advance their own interests.
I felt a little sorry for the Duke because if the facts of what happened were represented accurately then a real good argument could be made for him having a developmental disability of some sort. Perhaps autism. He really did seem to be unable to understand cause and effect throughout his life. In the end he got exactly what he pushed so hard for and gave up so much to get and then spent the rest of his life unhappy because he was never able to understand why when he shed all responsibilities all his perks went away as well. I thought he was honestly bewildered by that.
As for the Dutchess, well I have less sympathy for her. I don't think she ever wanted Edward "for keeps" but thought she could carry on an affair where she could enjoy royal patronage, snub her nose at Brittain's society types, advance her husbands career and then when Edward inevitably tired of her like he did all the mistresses that came before her go back to her long suffering second husband that she truly loved and her life would go back to normal. Instead she found herself in way over her head and ended up losing the husband she loved and stuck with an obsessively clingy husband that she didn't love.
The only ones who came out ahead in this mess were the British people who ended up with a much better king at a time when they had enough to deal with without having to put up with a King who displayed all the maturity of judgement of a six year old brat.
Here is the first full-scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the 20th century, a character who figured prominently in the blockbuster filmThe King’s Speech.
This is the story of the American divorcée notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne. "That woman", so called by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was born Bessie Wallis Warfield in 1896 in Baltimore. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she endured an impoverished childhood, which fostered in her a burning desire to rise above her circumstances.
Acclaimed biographer Anne Sebba offers an eye-opening account of one of the most talked about women of her generation. It explores the obsessive nature of Simpson’s relationship with Prince Edward, the suggestion that she may have had a disorder of sexual development, and new evidence showing she may never have wanted to marry Edward at all. Since her death, Simpson has become a symbol of female empowerment as well as a style icon. But her psychology remains an enigma.
Drawing from interviews and newly discovered letters, That Woman shines a light on this captivating and complex figure, an object of fascination who has only grown more compelling with the years.
I enjoyed this book very much in spite of its being classified as Inspirational. Charles Martin is a competent writer and a first rate story teller. Both of which are rare for Inspirational books.
I had to suspend my disbelief a time or two but hey, this is fiction and implausible situations are allowed as long as the story is good. And this is a good story. It kept me listening with my full attention all the to the end and there was no way I could shut if off until I learned how it came out.
On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley, knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight, and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness - one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot's dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber. With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens.
Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder, reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben's tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she's just settling. And what's more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben.
Winspeare said that this was book was going to change the entire playing field and boy was she ever right. She changed almost everything over the course of the book.
I have loved every one of these stories even when I got a little annoyed with the character of Maisie for clinging to tightly to her past and not moving on as fast as I thought she ought to. I am no longer annoyed. Plus she managed to change everything while leaving all the bare bones of the series firmly in place. This book just came out and I am already wishing for the next one.
And as for the mystery, I didn't figure it who-done-it until the very end. I absolutely love twisty mysteries and this was one had a grand twist at the end. This book lets the reader know that regardless of how much we want to see Masie and James wrapped in each others arms Winspeare is a mystery writer and any romance that floats by is strictly secondary and is meant to advance the plot only.
I grew up watching Perry Mason mystery in the early days of TV and my brother and I competed every week to see which one of us could figure out the Grand Denouement first. I'll admit I had an advantage over him for a while because whoever casted the shows had a weakness for weak chins and all I had to do was look to see which character had one and I had the killer.
And I say this in every review I write for the Maisie books but Winspeare is probably better than any other writer of mysteries set in this era. She does such a good job of setting the atmosphere of time and place that the reader is left as fly on wall as they experience the story in whatever format they have chosen.
And, as a personal note to whoever reads this comment. I know I am sounding a little gushy but if you have read any of my journal entries in the past you know that I pretty much call them as I see them. It has gotten me quite a few negative votes on amazon and a few on audible. But happily I am not running for election to anything so I will continue always to call them as I see them.
In Leaving Everything Most Loved by New York Times best-selling author Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs investigates the murder of Indian immigrants in London.
The year is 1933. Maisie Dobbs is contacted by an Indian gentleman who has come to England in the hopes of finding out who killed his sister two months ago. Scotland Yard failed to make any arrest in the case, and there is reason to believe they failed to conduct a thorough investigation. The case becomes even more challenging when another Indian woman is murdered just hours before a scheduled interview. Meanwhile, unfinished business from a previous case becomes a distraction, as does a new development in Maisie's personal life.
Bringing a crucial chapter in the life and times of Maisie Dobbs to a close, Leaving Everything Most Loved marks a pivotal moment in this outstanding mystery series.
By: James Oliver Curwood
Rated: 5 Stars
Kindle I recently finished a perfect jewel of a book. Shaun got it from the library and said I had to read it and when I looked for it I found it free on Kindle.
This book was written in 1917 and is not in the least dated. The Romance in the title refers to the hunter and the bear's relationship to the wilderness. It's about a man hunting for a bear from both points of view. I had never even considered that Grissly Bear's might have a point of view before but after reading this I even came away with a certain amount of sympathy for them. Not much, but some.
Anyway it's a little gem of a book, just 140 pages. And for you kindle owners, free.
50 people never came home to Middletown, New Jersey after September 11th. Wall Street fathers, young Port Authority police, single working moms, the beloved coach of the championship girls traveling basketball team. Three toddlers in one church pre-school lost their daddies. Dozens of widows, young and beautiful girls in their 20s and 30s, some still nursing newborns, watched their dreams literally go up in smoke in that amphitheater of death across the river.
Gail Sheehy traveled to Middletown shortly after the disaster and began in-depth interviews with many of the bereaved.
Middletown, America was written as the year progressed, following parallel and intertwining stories of selected individuals and their families. A mother who was doubly bereft when she lost her only son as he tried to fill the shoes of her absentee husband; the sole survivor in an office of 67 people who escaped the 88th floor of Tower 2 seconds before the floor was decimated.
Here are the fire-fighters, rescue workers and front-line public health volunteers, now training to be soldiers in this new war.
Of equal importance, however, is the way these very real individuals dealt with this disaster and the trauma that followed. Middletown, America is also a story of recovery and of the ways people finally learn to deal with seemingly insurmountable grief and an incomprehensible physical and financial disaster.
I so wish I could have had this book while my Mother was still alive. Her brain disease affected the left hemisphere where the author had her stroke and I am seeing my Mother on every page. I talked to my son about this book this morning about Mother and I know in my heart there is nothing I or anyone could have done to improve her condition but I sure could have understood what she was going through a lot better. I am finding a lot of comfort when the author talks about feeling peaceful detached from the world. I'm hoping it was that way for my Mother.
On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.
For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by "stepping to the right" of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by "brain chatter." Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah's online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone
The first half of this book tells the story of how the remains of the Romanov family was finally discovered after team after team of scientists, amateur archeologists, the KGB and just plain adventurers looking for their 15 minutes of fame spent fortunes and sometimes lifetimes searching for them.
It then goes on to describe the sickening in-fighting between teams of scientists and politicians from any country or region with even the most tenuous claim to have an interest in them indulged fought over the bones. It was pretty disgusting and I was amazed how people with so much education would stoop so low. The few scientists who did have integrity were almost buried in the avalanche of mud and had to fight tooth and nail to protect their reputations. As I said, disgusting. At the time this book was written the bones of the Romanov family was still laying in a morgue in Moscow while the Government fights over where and how to bury them. Sad!
The second half of the book was pretty much devoted to Anna Anderson, the Polish peasant woman as she utilmately turned out to be was able to perpetrate such a long running and fairly creditable hoax for so long. I Her story was very good and I guess it must be pretty easy to convince people who really want to be convinced of almost anything.
In July 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow mass grave near Ekaterinburg, Siberia, a few miles from the infamous cellar room where the last tsar and his family had been murdered 73 years before. But were these the bones of the Romanovs? And if these were their remains, where were the bones of the two younger Romanovs supposedly murdered with the rest of the family? Was Anna Anderson, celebrated for more than 60 years in newspapers, books, and film, really Grand Duchess Anastasia? The Romanovs provides the answers, describing in suspenseful detail the dramatic efforts to discover the truth.
Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie presents a colorful panorama of contemporary characters, illuminating the major scientific dispute between Russian experts and a team of Americans, whose findings, along with those of DNA scientists from Russia, America, and Great Britain, all contributed to solving one of the great mysteries of the 20th century.
A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948
By: Madeline Albright
Rated: 5 Stars
Hardback and Audiobook
A very good friend recommended this book to me and even loaned me a copy of it because she thought I would like it. She was right. I liked it so much I used one of my audible credits to purchase it in audio format. I am so glad I did because the books was read by Madeline Albright herself.
This book is basically a history of Czechoslovakia during the periods before, during and after WW2. I found this interesting because the events leading up to both wars and their aftermaths have had a lot of impact on where we find ourselves today. It's my contention that you cannot fully understand what is happening around you today unless you know what happened yesterday. That's just my personal take however and probably an excuse to myself for my fascination with conflict when I consider myself to be a pacifist.
By reading the book herself and thereby describing the events in her own voice she transformed the story from being dry history into her story. Sometimes you could tell by her voice that many of the events she was describing were very painful. I especially enjoyed the parts relating to her childhood during WWII. The one thing that I do not understand is why her parents kept so much of her families personal history from their children. I am sure they had their reasons but still it is hard for me to understand. I am about seven years younger than Madeline Albright but I still have some very vivid memories of those days. But I grew up in the oh so safe American mid-west so if I have memories I can imagine that people who lived through those times must have memories vivid enough to evoke some strong emotions.
Before Madeleine Albright turned twelve, her life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia - the country where she was born - the Battle of Britain, the near total destruction of European Jewry, the Allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War.
Albright's experiences, and those of her family, provide a lens through which to view the most tumultuous dozen years in modern history. Drawing on her memory, her parents' written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly available documents, Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. Prague Winter is an exploration of the past with timeless dilemmas in mind and, simultaneously, a journey with universal lessons that is intensely personal.
The book takes readers from the Bohemian capital's thousand-year-old castle to the bomb shelters of London, from the desolate prison ghetto of TerezÍn to the highest councils of European and American government. Albright reflects on her discovery of her family's Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland's tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, she tells the story of how millions of ordinary citizens were ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exiled leaders and freedom fighters, resistance organizers and collaborators, victims and killers. These events of enormous complexity are nevertheless shaped by concepts familiar to any growing child: fear, trust, adaptation, the search for identity, the pressure to conform, the quest for independence, and the difference between right and wrong.
"No one who lived through the years of 1937 to 1948," Albright writes, "was a stranger to profound sadness. Millions of innocents did not survive, and their deaths must never be forgotten. Today we lack the power to reclaim lost lives, but we have a duty to learn all that we can about what happened and why." At once a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history, Prague Winter serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past - as seen through the eyes of one of the international community's most respected and fascinating figures.
This book looked really great from the summary I read before I purchased it. And in a lot of ways it was a pretty good book. It's just that I had to keep suspending my disbelief so often that I finally got tired of doing it. But let me be clear, I am not complaining about the writing. But while I thought this book was well written it could have definitely used some professional editing to keep the plot from drifting off into implausibility. Had this not been basically such a good book (interesting plot line, good writing) I could have shrugged this book off and I would not now be going to all the trouble of writing a long review to critique it.
The story of the slave Josephine Bell was the most interesting to me. I thought the parts of the book relating to her life very poignant and probably basically true to life. But even here I had to quibble with the fact that she was so educated and had so much opportunity to spend time not to mention access to art supplies that she was able to produce the body of work that was apparently floating around in the 21st century. Also the fact that at her death she was still only 17 years old. Still, if one was able to suspend ones mild disbelief it was a very good story line.
Lina came across as even more unbelievable. She didn't fit the type one would expect to have even been hired at a high powered NY law firm that specializes in corporate litigation. The amount of the damages being sued for also struck me as highly unlikely. No one, especially the Government is going to sit still for a suit asking for that kind of damages without pulling some major strings to stifle it and the fact the author had all the attorney's sitting around with sugar plumbs dancing in their heads just did not work for me. High powered corporate lawyers ought to have a firmer grasp on reality than the ones in this book did. Still, they are part the 100% and reality is not their strong suit so . . . . . . . .
Also that all the research necessary to prove this case just fell into Lina's lap from a source that was least likely to help her was the final straw for me. And last but not least, I thought the ending was messy. There was not closure to any of the plot lines.
Still, this was still an OK read. I think I am complaining because I think it could have been so much more.
Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine....
The year is 2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.
The year is 1852: Josephine is a 17-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm - an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.
It is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world: Art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, Josephine.
A descendant of Josephine's would be the perfect face for the lawsuit - if Lina can find one. But nothing is known about Josephine's fate following Lu Anne Bell's death in 1852. In piecing together Josephine's story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother's mysterious death 20 years before.
Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love, and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be more important than justice.
I guess I need to remind myself more often that I don't like Westerns because I really enjoyed this book. It's a coming of age/Little House on the Prairie/My Antonia kind of book with a little twist at the end. It's also a peek into rural life in Montana 100 years ago and a nostalgic look back at the one room school houses of the time.
My one mild complaint is that while Doig does an excellent job of describing time and place his attempt at adding a couple rascals into the story came off as far fetched. Still it is a book of fiction after all and while I rolled my eyes a little I still enjoyed the book. Publisher's Summary
When a widowed rancher hires a housekeeper to help with his three young sons, he finds her to be cheerful and competent. Yet she is concealing a colorful and infamous past. Filled with humor and hardship, this novel sings with what the author calls "a poetry of the vernacular".